The three charts below, from Discovery News, debunk the recent meme being circulated by right-wing entertainment outlets that global warming has stalled. The first chart shows how the data gets cherry picked by Drudge et. al. so that recent peaks in the data are lined up with recent troughs, and the other two highlight the actual broad trend.
With regard to the first chart, climate scientists call this way of cherry picking data, “Going down the up escalator.”
Of the third chart, Kieran Mulvaney of Discovery News states the following:
As can be seen, at first glance, the years seem to follow no discernible order: 2010, 2005, 1998, 2003, 2006. But the decades are color-coded, which shows that the vast majority of the hottest years are in this century, followed by the 1990s etc. As the Met Office pointed out in December 2009, “the first decade of this century has been, by far, the warmest decade on the instrumental record.”
This recent Frontline documentary on global warming skepticism is exceptionally well done and worth watching. It’s also great for reflecting on critical thinking and the interaction of scientists with the lay public. But if you don’t have time for the whole documentary, catch the 16:45 mark where the cherry picking of data is discussed.